Shawn Sixx of the “Sixx Strings” podcast recently conducted an interview with ATREYU bassist Marc “Porter” McKnight. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the importance of maintaining a passion for music:
Marc: “I think it’s an important thing that bands can’t lose touch with is that they treat it like a job and they treat it like a routine and ‘I’m just going up to play a show again.’ It loses the spark and the wonder. You have to give it all every night and you have to find that place inside you that makes it fresh for you, genuinely fresh, not just putting on a smile. You have to truly connect to that every night because it’s fucking obvious out there if you don’t. You can’t phone it in. There’s been points in our life where we’ve all had that. We’ve all had those shows where you’re just like, ‘Fuck, man. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t do anything to get to that point.’ But I think that’s a musician job in the live aspect.”
On ATREYU maintaining its “spark” after 20 years as a band:
Marc: “Honesty is everything in performance. And if you’re not honest with yourself when you’re writing the song, if you’re writing the song for the wrong reasons, if there’s dollar signs there or if there’s other things, you can hear it. It might not be in the tone, it might not be this, but you can sense it, you can feel that’s not genuine. It’s the same thing on stage, and that’s the difference between bands that last just a little bit and get eaten by the machine and can’t mentally exist on the road. That’s how we’ve been a band for 20 years. For the most part, we’ve done that and we’ve been true to ourselves. We’ve done weird avenues, we’ve written some weird fucking songs and it might have sounded like we wanted money, or something, maybe let’s say, ‘Oh, you might have thought we wanted that,’ but we were just being true to ourselves. We love music and we love exploring and trying new things.”
On still loving music:
Marc: “We had a chance to sign probably one of the last major big deals to a major. It was genuinely one of the last ones. I don’t know statistically if actually we were the last one. That was the last one. We did that because we had a chance to do that. We did it because it was the natural progression of our band. Yes, it was to a major. Yes, it was for a lot of money. Yes, we went, and we went more radio but that was all a conscious choice by us. It wasn’t like someone offered us a shit ton of money and we were like, ‘Oh, yeah. We will sell our souls.’ Songs like ‘Falling Down’ didn’t sound like ‘Creature’ on [2006’s] [‘A] Death-Grip [On Yesterday’], but that’s still us. We listen to fucking pop songs. I listen to country all the time. We listen to rap. We listen to everything. We’re not the band that’s going to write the same record. We don’t eat the same piece of pizza every fucking meal. We explore and we challenge.”
On the current state of the music industry:
Marc: “It’s not horrible, it’s just oversaturated. And it’s lost its [mystique]. It’s lost its honesty. But it doesn’t always work that way. It doesn’t always work out that honesty translates to success, too, because sometimes, that’s not a good thing. Sometimes it’s just a weird human being and it doesn’t translate and you’re, like, ‘That was fucking strange. They’re really honest but I don’t like it.’ Sometimes you see bands and you’re like, ‘They are phoning it in. This doesn’t sound real’ and they’re the biggest band on earth. I don’t know. If I knew the alchemy that it took to make the perfect thing, I would have done it right now and I would be headlining this festival, but we’re doing all right for ourselves.”
ATREYU‘s latest studio album, “In Our Wake”, was released in October 2018 via Spinefarm Records.